Prosecutors say fraudster lawyer may be hiding assets

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U.S. District Court of NH

CONCORD, NH – The Manchester lawyer convicted of money laundering and wire fraud for allegedly bilking clients out of millions may now be hiding his assets from the government, according to a new filing in the case.

John Allen, 63, pleaded guilty in November to the federal felony charges brought forward in the United States District Court in Concord as part of a negotiated plea agreement. The agreement stipulates Allen will repay his clients more than $2.4 million he stole, and he’ll serve a term in federal prison. However, according to Assistant United States Attorney Mathew Hunter, Allen is already not complying with the agreement.

“This is a financial fraud case where the defendant stole more than $2.4 million from his victims,” Hunter wrote. “The defendant’s continued refusal to provide this financial information raises a particular concern that the defendant may have assets that he is trying to hide.”

Allen, who is representing himself in court, was scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, but that hearing was rescheduled after Hunter informed the court about likely suspicion about the hidden assets, according to Hunter’s motions filed this week. Allen could not be reached for comment on Thursday. He has been free on release since his conviction.

In November, Allen told Probation Office representatives that he mailed the forms detailing his financials to the United States Attorney’s Office in Concord. This was in November shortly after he pleaded guilty. The forms did not arrive via mail, according to Hunter.

In January, the Probation Office’s pre-sentencing report noted that Allen had still not turned in the financial information, according to Hunter. On Feb. 4, Hunter emailed Allen about the forms, reminding him that he could be considered in breach of the plea agreement for failing to provide the information. Allen then offered to bring the forms to Concord personally, but later said, on Feb. 9, that his ride “fell through.”

“(Allen) has repeatedly and consistently evaded his responsibility to provide the government and the Probation Office financial information needed to make his victims whole,” Hunter wrote.

This week, Hunter filed a motion to allow the government to seize up to $3 million of Allen’s assets to secure money for the victims. Hunter is also seeing a prison term of 57 months, for Allen, which is also part of the plea agreement. The sentencing date has yet to be rescheduled.

Allen’s legal practice included commercial real estate acquisition and development, and secured lending transactions, according to court records. Allen maintained two Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (commonly known as IOLTA) in order to handle client monies.

Starting in January of 2014 and through October of 2019, Allen engaged in a scheme to defraud several of his clients of more than $2.4 million, according to court records. Allen’s clients gave him money to hold in escrow for specific purposes, including private lending, real estate transactions, and particular business deals. Allen told his clients he would hold the funds in his IOLTA for these purposes, he transferred those funds between his IOLTAs and into another bank account he controlled, without telling his clients, according to court records.

Once the money was out of the IOLTAs, Allen used it for his own personal expenses and for unrelated business expenses, according to court records.

Allen convinced one client to invest more than $1.5 million in fake promissory notes that Allen created using other peoples’ identities, according to court records. Allen did not invest the money and instead kept it for himself, according to the case file. Allen also stole nearly $1 million from other clients by transferring money they had provided for specific real estate transactions from his IOLTA to other accounts he controlled, court documents state.

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Damien Fisher

Damien Fisher is a freelance reporter and publisher of